Contributions to HRAs/HSAs Growing

February 20, 2013 ( A growing share of both employers and individual participants are contributing to their health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).

According to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), nearly 70% of workers with an HRA or HSA said their employers contributed to the account in 2012, continuing a steady increase since 2009. Employer contributions of $200 to $499 increased from 14% to 22% between 2009 and 2011, while employers that contributed $1,000 or more increased from 24% to 28%. Among workers with family coverage, employer contribution levels were unchanged between 2010 and 2012, with 63% contributing $1,000 or more.     

Individuals’ contributions to HSA plans have varied over the years but generally have been increasing, EBRI found. In 2012, 15% of individuals reported they contributed nothing to their HAS; 42% said they contributed $1,500 or more.   

The report shows a correlation between health engagement and individual contributions to an HSA. Those defined as being engaged in their health reported that they did at least one of the following: checked whether their health plan would cover their care or medication; checked the price of a doctor’s visit, medication or other health care service before receiving care; checked the quality rating of a doctor or hospital before receiving care; talked to their doctor about prescription options, costs, other treatment options and costs; used an online cost-tracking tool  provided by their health plan to manage health expenses; developed a budget to manage health care expenses; asked for a generic drug instead of a brand name drug; or asked their doctor to recommend a less costly prescription drug.    

Individuals with some engagement with the health care system contributed higher amounts to their HSA than those with no engagement. In 2012, 48% of those with no engagement with the health care system contributed $1,500 or more, whereas 55% of those with some engagement with the health care system contributed $1,500 or more.     

The February EBRI Notes article, “Employer and Workers Contributions to Health Reimbursement  Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts, 2006–2012,” presents findings from the 2012 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care survey, as well as earlier surveys examining the availability of HRAs and HSA-eligible health plans. It also looks at employer and individual contribution behavior. The report is available on EBRI’s website at